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Old 11-20-2014, 02:45 PM   #251
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Great thread GarGuy!! Awesome stories, thank you for sharing them with us!
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Old 11-20-2014, 02:49 PM   #252
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Glad to see this going again. I've been waiting on your posts. Hopefully a kill story later in the season
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Old 11-20-2014, 02:54 PM   #253
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4,5,6- I look for a spot around the edge that gives me an advantage. A spot I can get into with the wind right and out of without the deer knowing it. There has to be some feature that helps, a busy road, grown up fence, deep creek, etc.

I find lots of key spots hunting sheds in Febuary.

On the issue of killing multiple deer from these spots. Sometimes a deer can be killed and removed without disturbing the spot. Especially with a rifle. you might have noticed the mention of killing them in their tracks when possible to prevent blood trailing. Sometimes, killing a deer will end the spot for the year. heck , sometimes one spell of swirling wind will ruin the spot for the year.
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Old 11-20-2014, 02:55 PM   #254
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Glad to see this going again. I've been waiting on your posts. Hopefully a kill story later in the season
Im obsessed with a particular deer...again... May end this season with all my tags.
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:04 PM   #255
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Number 7and 9- They use these spots all year long and are very familiar with them. When the shooting and woods stomping starts especially on public land, its much like a public bomb shelter when the air raid siren is going off is coming. Deer that don't particularly like each other will live in very close proximity during the day. They also want to feed during the day but wont venture out of the bomb shelter yet feel perfectly comfortable feeding within.

I RARELY see does in there. I see at least 5 to one bucks when Im hunting these setups.
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:06 PM   #256
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Ever since the beginning of this thread I have been meaning to ask about finding sheds in relation to these areas?
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:13 PM   #257
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Number 8-- that's a hard one and varies a lot from place to place. If its a spot that I plan to start corning early, say a month before I think it will get good, I usually put out a bag and check it in three days. I adjust how much I put out by how much they are eating. many of these spots don't eat a lot until the pressure hits but its critical that I have them adjusted to me corning before that time comes. Remember, im often just intruding a few feet into the sanctuary. Many times, I actually throw the corn in with a bucket from across the fence of stream. Most of my spots have few hogs. they change everything.

In early fall, I just walk up making lots of noise and trying not to sound like a hunter. When the deer are really pressured in, I like to corn around 10pm and after the deer have moved out for the night. I always spray down with vanilla and NEVER, I MEAN NEVER use the same trail to corn as the one to my stand. They quickly learn where I walk in to corn and often watch or scent check that trail. I have watched them do this hundreds of times.
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:13 PM   #258
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Man, one of the most difficult aspects of this style of hunting for me to reconcile, is hunting in thick areas where you just can't see very far. I love trying to outsmart whitetails but I also LOVE the sights and sounds of the big woods and love looking over a huge bottom with trees that are 3-5x my age. Until I finish my house, i'm still just hunting 1 or 2 times a year, and I don't get very excited about staring at a wall of briars if I go

Someday I will eventually discipline myself enough to do what it takes!
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:23 PM   #259
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10 11- Mature deer may react this way under very little pressure. The heavier the pressure though, the better these spots get. The better the spot, the more likely it is that the biggest buck in the woods will be there. He will generally take over the corn pile and show up to assert his ownership every time another deer gets in the feed.

Its also common that when we kill the dominant deer, another stud will show up immediately. Deer of the same stature don't tolerate each other as well as clearly established pecking order deer do although at least three times in my life, every dang one of my hitlist deer walking in sequentially.
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:29 PM   #260
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I have learned a lot from this thread and also helped me get my deer this year

thank you gar guy, keep up the tips and stories as well
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:34 PM   #261
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Gar Guy for President!!! I learn a ton from you!! Thanks a bunch brother.
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:35 PM   #262
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11-14

Yes they stay productive year after year until something changes. Yes these deer use different sanctuaries a few miles apart. Sometimes he will just disappear with no warning. I don't know why but I figure there was an intrusion I never knew about. Last year I hunted that monster 8pt in two different counties and several miles apart.

The thing that totally amazes me year after year is how far deer will travel to a perfect sanctuary. I have learned to create these and on multiple occations, I have had deer show up in my sanctuary that I know for a fact had been headquartering several miles away. When the pressure got really bad, he picked up and came to see me...and got to ride in my truck. I can only speculate that mature bucks keep mental notes of the perfect spots as they travel.

On the question of travel. Most of these sanctuary deer are only there during the day. the often get there right at daybreak and leave right at last light. Many times I ONLY get daylight pics of these deer. late season, they may stay closer and that really makes it hard to get in and out without disturbing them. Cameras are a key element in determining when ol Big is getting home.
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:38 PM   #263
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwool View Post
Ever since the beginning of this thread I have been meaning to ask about finding sheds in relation to these areas?
yep.
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:46 PM   #264
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VERY informative thread guys. Thanks so much for sharing y'all's immense knowledge with us. Y'all don't have to do it and lots don't but I want to thank you. Sure hope to share a fire with y'all one day.
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:50 PM   #265
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I have bow hunted Bobby's twice (uncle). First sit I got skunked. Second sit I had a doe come in nervous then walked down wind and winded me. I quickly figured out that they were hearing/watching me come through that upper gate and walk down to the bow stand. They are bedded up in the woods to the left of the feeder. Trail cam shows that the feeder is COVERED UP both mornings and evenings all the time...except the two times that I hunted it.
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Old 11-20-2014, 04:28 PM   #266
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I have bow hunted Bobby's twice (uncle). First sit I got skunked. Second sit I had a doe come in nervous then walked down wind and winded me. I quickly figured out that they were hearing/watching me come through that upper gate and walk down to the bow stand. They are bedded up in the woods to the left of the feeder. Trail cam shows that the feeder is COVERED UP both mornings and evenings all the time...except the two times that I hunted it.
Yep! do you remember the conversation where I said I would sneak down the edge of the pond on the other side of the dam and get in the blind out of sight?
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Old 11-20-2014, 04:39 PM   #267
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Love them all, I felt like I was there with you. Thanks for sharing
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Old 11-20-2014, 04:47 PM   #268
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Yep! do you remember the conversation where I said I would sneak down the edge of the pond on the other side of the dam and get in the blind out of sight?
Yep. I need to jump over fence where we left off diggin and come in that way and hit that pond dam.
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Old 11-20-2014, 09:46 PM   #269
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Garguy, how much do you use satellite photos of areas to find a likely spot? I have been on the same timber company lease for 20 years. I have had to re-learn the whole 950 acres multiple times due to them cutting timber. I use satellite to find the areas that didn't grow back or where oaks are left, but I still can't seem to locate bedding areas or true sanctuaries.
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Old 11-20-2014, 10:09 PM   #270
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Good stuff! Thank You again for sharing these nitty gritty details of what works for you with the rest of us. I've learned something every time you do it.

Last edited by Jesus is Coming; 11-20-2014 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 11-20-2014, 10:48 PM   #271
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It's really nice to hear these stories reminds me of my late grandfather. Always had a story for everytime he saw me.

Great to read your stories Gar!
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Old 11-21-2014, 07:09 AM   #272
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I have a few much bigger deer located so I may take dad after this wide deer Monday. His brows point forward and are super long. Probably wont score great but he is wide for East Tx.
Lawdy!!!! I would have a heart attack if I saw a deer like that!!! Awesome stories GG. I woke up at 4am and could'nt go back to sleep and grabbed some coffee and started this thread over. Really gives me hope and inspiration( wife thinks I'm crazy and ate up w? deer hunting-HA!). Keep em coming.
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Old 11-21-2014, 07:24 AM   #273
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4,5,6- I look for a spot around the edge that gives me an advantage. A spot I can get into with the wind right and out of without the deer knowing it. There has to be some feature that helps, a busy road, grown up fence, deep creek, etc.

I find lots of key spots hunting sheds in Febuary.

On the issue of killing multiple deer from these spots. Sometimes a deer can be killed and removed without disturbing the spot. Especially with a rifle. you might have noticed the mention of killing them in their tracks when possible to prevent blood trailing. Sometimes, killing a deer will end the spot for the year. heck , sometimes one spell of swirling wind will ruin the spot for the year.
Fact^^^^My precious little wife, shot her 1st deer(buck) and we had to intrude into the thicket where I know other older deer live....havent seen a deer since, only 2 small bucks on camera in 3 weeks over corn. Probably done for the year there, but, it was worth it.

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Old 11-21-2014, 07:50 AM   #274
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Originally Posted by Joshua Flournoy View Post
GarGuy, having grown up hunting deep East Texas, including some in the general area of your stomping grounds of the DCNF, I have read this entire thread through with fascination. I live and hunt in Ohio now for the last 10 years. Brought up a lot of questions in my mind, hoping maybe you can shed some light on them to the best of your ability.

1) Is there any single characteristic that ALL of your "pressured" big buck hotspots have in common? Are they almost all centered around a thicket or a grown-up clearcut? What about something like a CRP field with head-high grass or a swamp with head-high clumps of swamp grass and alder type bush-thickets?

2) What is it about a spot that makes you look at it, and without even setting foot in it, say to yourself "that is THE spot"? How often have you thought that, only to inspect it and find, for whatever reason, it wasn't as good as you thought it would be?

3) Is there a "minimum" size that the thicket/clearcut needs to be, in your experience, in order to give those big mature bucks the security they need to feel like they can get up in the middle of the day, in broad daylight, and move around, as your many experiences show?

4) You've said several places in this thread that you do the setting up of the shooting lane, etc., during the Summer when possible. Is that from blind faith that the spot will be good, or because you had some reason to know mature bucks were spending time there in the previous Fall season?

5) In your descriptions of how you set up, you've indicated that you like to hunt the edge of the thicket/sanctuary, looking just into it from your stand or blind. You've mentioned single oak trees dropping nuts as being the deciding factor in several instances. What if you don't have something like that, how exactly do you decide where you're going to set up your shooting lane and stand/blind, just from the wind direction?

6) In a few of the stories, you, or you and your father or you and a friend shot more than one mature buck in a particular spot within a short period of time. Why didn't the other mature bucks vacate the spot after the first one was killed? After all, this thread is about "pressured" deer. If you're hunting a relatively small area and you fire off a gun right in their "sanctuary", why has that spot not now become a "pressured" spot as a result of the gun shot and the scent/noise you leave and make getting the deer out of there?

7) Are these magical spots you've had so much success finding, areas where those mature bucks spend a lot of time ALL YEAR LONG, or only during hunting season when the guns start blazing? And if they only spend time there when the guns start blazing, do they generally leave and go somewhere else from February on, after season is over?

8) When you're corning these spots over a period of time of more than just a few days, how often do you go in to put out more corn, and how much do you put out at one time? In a pile or thrown like chicken feed? Do you only go put out more corn with a certain wind direction, or will you put out corn on a certain schedule no matter what the wind direction? When you go put out corn, how far away do you think those bucks are generally bedded from your corn spot? 50 yards? 100? Further? It amazes me that these mature bucks that are retreating to that spot because of human pressure, will tolerate you going in there regularly to put out corn and check cameras.

9) It sounds like you've killed a lot of these bucks in early November, shortly after gun season starts. Obviously, that is during the rut, and yet your stories indicate groups of bucks together in these magical sanctuaries. What is your theory on why they will tolerate being in close proximity to each other at that time of the year (rut)? Sounds like you frequently see a lot of does at these sanctuary set-ups also?

10) Is it almost "necessary" for you to be hunting an area with a lot of pressure in order to be able to find these little hot-spots with mature bucks stacked up in them like cordwood? What about an area of private land with lots of quality habitat and little hunting pressure? Are the mature bucks a lot more likely to be spread out in different areas rather than kind of bunched up in one little spot like it sounds with a lot of your spots?

11) Are your best spots generally productive in this way year after year, so long as they remain "hidden" and a sanctuary"?

12) Do you ever have 2 different of these magical sanctuary spots a few miles apart (or less) where you find a particular mature buck or multiple bucks are using BOTH of them concurrently?

13) Are these bucks still leaving the sanctuary at night, just holing up in there during all daylight hours?

14) Any reason you think these same tactics wouldn't work in the Midwest U.S.?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm just trying to really understand your system in hopes that I can apply it to our southern Ohio bucks.
JF, thanx for asking questions that I have no idea how to put into words.
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Old 11-21-2014, 08:41 AM   #275
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Lawdy!!!! I would have a heart attack if I saw a deer like that!!! Awesome stories GG. I woke up at 4am and could'nt go back to sleep and grabbed some coffee and started this thread over. Really gives me hope and inspiration( wife thinks I'm crazy and ate up w? deer hunting-HA!). Keep em coming.
Well let me tell you a story about that hunt. That old buck and four more shooters were in a tiny sanctuary. I had hundreds of pics of them and all in daylight. just like clockwork, if one of the other deer got in the corn, the old wide deer would be there all hours of the day. SLAM DUNK!

I had a ground blind so we could sneak in to 100yds without being seen. The only reason those bucks were out there was because there was zero hunting pressure so I had to do everything perfect. I waited until the wind was right and we got in perfectly. I was recovering from the flu and 30 minutes into the hunt, I felt the gagging cough coming. I choked it back as much as possible but it wouldn't go away. I pulled my coat over my head when it had to come out but I knew I had messed up. We sat all day and didn't see a deer.

That was two weeks ago and I went from having hundreds of pics a day of those buck to not a single pic since! I mean, those bucks have not even checked that corn pile once since that cough. That just goes to show you how sensitive mature bucks are in their core sanctuary. Those deer had never experienced a hunter there before and wouldn't tolerate one.
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Old 11-21-2014, 09:24 AM   #276
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Ouch!
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Old 11-21-2014, 09:44 AM   #277
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I am glued to the screen right now. I can't wait to go back and re-read it all again, and again.
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Old 11-21-2014, 09:54 AM   #278
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GarGuy, thanks for all your detailed answers. I do have some follow-up questions, below in colored text.

Quote:
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Number 1. There IS in fact a single characteristic all these places share. They ALL have a feature that continually EXCLUDES human influx. Sometimes its a swift stream, sometimes a terrible briar patch, an uncrossable fence, or in my more recent private sanctuaries....NOONE is allowed.

So basically, something that is such a drastic physical barrier that most hunters wouldn't consider the spot worth messing with? I've heard you describe some of your sanctuaries as being in "crazy" spots where most guys just flat overlook them. I'm assuming you mean behind a house or store, close to a road, or somewhere else folks wouldn't give a second thought to. Do those spots still have a physical feature that continually excludes human influx, or do those have more of a "mental" feature that excludes human influx, i.e. "no self-respecting mature buck would be caught dead that close to the road/house/store", etc.? Do most of your sanctuaries carry that exclusionary physical feature all the way around the sanctuary, or just on the side of the sanctuary that is most easily accessible by the public? I noticed in some of the pictures that jooger posted of his hunt in one of your DCNF sanctuaries that he was sitting in an area that looked quite open. I don't want you to give any details that you think would give away where that sanctuary is located, but can you expound a little bit on what it is about that sanctuary that makes mature bucks perfectly at ease walking around to get shot in those very open woods? One must assume that your sanctuaries aren't necessarily dog-hair thick all the way through, just in the "right areas" to exclude human access or notice? Do your "private land" sanctuaries also usually have a physical feature that excludes human access, or just a landowner feature that excludes human access, i.e., "no, you can't hunt here"?

Numbers 2 and 3- I like at least 20 acres but many are much smaller. However if they are really small, its really difficult to bunt them without busting the deer out. Do I miss sometimes? Sure, but if it has all the characteristics, its almost certain to blow up once the pressure gets on. many times , I will corn a spot right inside regularly and have just a little traffic. Doesn't bother me at all because they know where that corn is when the pressure gets on.

Some of the very best spots were fund by blood trailing a wounded mature buck. A gutshot deer will almost always go to his sanctuary if he can. Many of these spots are set up on a natural food just inside and when I know there are say..whiteoak acorns, I will slip in and hunt it when conditions are perfect with zero scouting. This is absolutely the most productive method but my recent addiction to hunting specific deer has led me away from it. Almost a guarantee to see a mature buck but he may be a 135 8pt. That's exactly what Jooger did last week. He went into my sanctuary in the DCNF totally blind, set down by a tree watching the whiteoaks and shot a 6.5 year old at 411 pm.

In your experience, does your success on mature bucks in these sanctuaries decrease as the season wears on and gets into the post-rut period, or are you just as likely to have success in these spots in early January at the end of the season as you are in early November at the beginning of the season?

4,5,6- I look for a spot around the edge that gives me an advantage. A spot I can get into with the wind right and out of without the deer knowing it. There has to be some feature that helps, a busy road, grown up fence, deep creek, etc.

I find lots of key spots hunting sheds in Febuary.

On the issue of killing multiple deer from these spots. Sometimes a deer can be killed and removed without disturbing the spot. Especially with a rifle. you might have noticed the mention of killing them in their tracks when possible to prevent blood trailing. Sometimes, killing a deer will end the spot for the year. heck , sometimes one spell of swirling wind will ruin the spot for the year.

Number 7and 9- They use these spots all year long and are very familiar with them. When the shooting and woods stomping starts especially on public land, its much like a public bomb shelter when the air raid siren is going off is coming. Deer that don't particularly like each other will live in very close proximity during the day. They also want to feed during the day but wont venture out of the bomb shelter yet feel perfectly comfortable feeding within.

I RARELY see does in there. I see at least 5 to one bucks when Im hunting these setups.

And they will hang out in these sanctuaries during the day even in the peak of the rut? Their survival instincts trump their raging sex hormones at that time?

Number 8-- that's a hard one and varies a lot from place to place. If its a spot that I plan to start corning early, say a month before I think it will get good, I usually put out a bag and check it in three days. I adjust how much I put out by how much they are eating. many of these spots don't eat a lot until the pressure hits but its critical that I have them adjusted to me corning before that time comes. Remember, im often just intruding a few feet into the sanctuary. Many times, I actually throw the corn in with a bucket from across the fence of stream. Most of my spots have few hogs. they change everything.

In early fall, I just walk up making lots of noise and trying not to sound like a hunter. When the deer are really pressured in, I like to corn around 10pm and after the deer have moved out for the night. I always spray down with vanilla and NEVER, I MEAN NEVER use the same trail to corn as the one to my stand. They quickly learn where I walk in to corn and often watch or scent check that trail. I have watched them do this hundreds of times.

Does it matter how far apart your corn and stand trails are from each other? Does it matter if they're in the same wind direction from the sanctuary? Is it ever necessary for you to cross the path where the bucks enter and exit the sanctuary, to get to your corn trail or stand trail, or is this something you try to avoid at all cost? Will you absolutely not take corn to your spot during daylight unless the wind direction will be good while you're taking the corn in? What about when you do it at 10 p.m.? I'm assuming in that situation, if the deer are out of the sanctuary, it doesn't really matter what the wind is doing when you're taking the corn in? Do you ever take corn in when you're going in to hunt? When you're hunting, is there a particular time of day that you generally have more success, i.e. morning, mid-day or evening? If you're hunting the spot in the morning, do you have to get in there several hours before shooting light to beat the bucks back to the sanctuary, or does it not matter if you beat them back there so long as you can get set up before daylight with a good wind direction? Do you ever use a climbing stand in these spots, or is that just too much potential noise with mature bucks holed up nearby?

You said you always spray down with Vanilla when you go in - do you just spray the soles of your shoes and maybe your lower pant legs, just anything that might be touching the ground, or do you spray down pretty much your whole self, clothes, hat, shoes, everything? And on the corn, do you just spray a few spritzes of Vanilla on the corn in the bucket? Do you have any qualms about touching the corn with your bare hands to spread some of it out, so long as you spray Vanilla on the corn, or is that a strict "no-no"?


10 11- Mature deer may react this way under very little pressure. The heavier the pressure though, the better these spots get. The better the spot, the more likely it is that the biggest buck in the woods will be there. He will generally take over the corn pile and show up to assert his ownership every time another deer gets in the feed.

Its also common that when we kill the dominant deer, another stud will show up immediately. Deer of the same stature don't tolerate each other as well as clearly established pecking order deer do although at least three times in my life, every dang one of my hitlist deer walking in sequentially.

11-14

Yes they stay productive year after year until something changes. Yes these deer use different sanctuaries a few miles apart. Sometimes he will just disappear with no warning. I don't know why but I figure there was an intrusion I never knew about. Last year I hunted that monster 8pt in two different counties and several miles apart.

The thing that totally amazes me year after year is how far deer will travel to a perfect sanctuary. I have learned to create these and on multiple occations, I have had deer show up in my sanctuary that I know for a fact had been headquartering several miles away. When the pressure got really bad, he picked up and came to see me...and got to ride in my truck. I can only speculate that mature bucks keep mental notes of the perfect spots as they travel.

Can you expand on this thought some, of how you create the sanctuaries? I have a few places on my land that have a bunch of trash trees that I wouldn't mind cutting down to create bedding cover in the tops and then a few years down the road in the briars and thick stuff that will grow up from sun being able to get to the forest floor.

In your opinion, is there ever an area that is too thick to be a sanctuary for a mature buck? I know I am continually amazed at some of the stuff I see big bucks walking through, stuff I had imagined they would walk around if at all possible.


On the question of travel. Most of these sanctuary deer are only there during the day. the often get there right at daybreak and leave right at last light. Many times I ONLY get daylight pics of these deer. late season, they may stay closer and that really makes it hard to get in and out without disturbing them. Cameras are a key element in determining when ol Big is getting home.

Last question for now, do you believe there are some sanctuaries that are just too big to really be hunted effectively? Or do you have just as much success hunting a 100 acre nasty, grown-up clearcut as you do with a 20 acre one?
Let me describe an area I just recently got access to hunt and you tell me if you think it might have some potential.

This spot is in farm country, a lot more acres of crops than woods. Deer use treed fence-lines, brushy "ditches" and similar terrain features to travel between bigger blocks of woods, or "woodlots" as they're called up here. The particular property I got permission on is a little over 400 acres, but about 90% of it is crop-fields, corn and soybeans, which were recently harvested. The biggest area of year-round cover on the place is a low-area/swamp (currently dry) that is about 18 acres. Full of head-high swamp grass and alder-type brushy thickets. There are a few trees here and there, but precious little in the way of tree-stand trees, would definitely set up better for a ground-blind.

This swamp is surrounded by hundreds of acres of crop fields, but the nearest bigger block of woods (100+ acres) is only about 1/4 mile away across a harvested corn field. I only got access to this place in about the 3rd week of October, and I immediately put up a few cameras, one on a trail traversing the edge of the swamp, and one on a trail leading to/from the swamp into a soybean field. I then went out of town for a week, and when I got back and checked the cameras, there were pictures of about 10 different bucks between the 2 cameras, with 90% of the photos being at night, some in the middle of the night. These pictures were taken in what I would call the "pre-rut" time period up here. The largest part of the bucks were 2.5 and 3.5 in age, with a few yearling bucks and one mature (I think 5.5+) typical I think will be close to B&C. Obviously, this really excited me, even though the pics were at night.

I hunted the place 5 times over the next 2 1/2 weeks, a few times from a treestand in one of the few trees that would handle one, and a few times from my ASAT pop-up blind. I only saw one deer in those 5 sits, a 2.5 year old 8-point that looked like he was cruising for does. I did get snorted at one other time as I was leaving my blind just after dark. Neither my stand nor my blind were set-up in the "heart" of the thickest part of the swamp, they were both set up on the outside edge where I could easily get to them without too much racket. Because of seeing so few deer while actually hunting the place, I decided to leave it alone for a while and hunt some of my other spots on my own property, but I left the cameras in place. I checked the cameras twice over a period of about 11 days, and the number of pictures dropped like a rock, at both cameras, which were about 300 yards away from each other. I did get a picture of another whopper, in the middle of the night, on 11/6, 20 yards from my treestand, but other than that, just a few yearling bucks in that time period, until 11/15, when I finally got a single picture of what I think is possibly a 4.5 y/o buck in the daylight, late morning, near my ground blind. When I went in to check the cameras last, 3 days ago, and a day after a several inch snow, there were almost no deer tracks anywhere, so I decided to do a little exploring deeper into the "heart" of the swamp and try to figure out where all those bucks went. I found bedding areas and regularly used trails aplenty, and a few antler rubs, although not as many as I thought to find, and not giant ones like I might expect from these size of bucks I had gotten pics of. One other thing to note: in almost a month of having these 2 cameras deployed, I think I got a picture of only a single doe.

My theory is that this swamp is a definite buck bedding area, and I think the reason why the number of pictures went down all of a sudden as the rut intensified and got to peak-rut, is that the bucks left the swamp and traveled to some of the nearby blocks of woods that were 1/4 mile away and further and were pretty much hanging out in those areas looking for does for several weeks. We're still technically in what I would call the tail-end of the rut here. My feeling and hope is that those bucks are going to start slowly filtering back in to the swamp area pretty soon. One other thing to note is that our gun season hasn't even started here yet, it doesn't start until the Monday after Thanksgiving, is shotgun or muzzy only, and only lasts for 6 days. There is a late 3 day muzzy season in January, but it doesn't see a whole lot of participation, very cold at that time of year usually. Archery season usually lasts until late January/early February. Late Archery season can be a very good time of year to kill a mature buck in this area because they get pretty darn hungry and if it is real cold and several inches of snow they can have a hard go of finding food, so supplemental corn is really hammered at that time of year. I killed my biggest buck ever (one in my avatar, 170"+) in the late Archery season (January 19), several hundred yards back in the woods on a trail leading to my food plots and corn, right before the end of legal shooting light one evening.

So, from my detailed (very!) description of this swamp and my experience with it so far, do you think it has the potential to be possibly a pretty good buck sanctuary? I'm posting pics of the 3 best bucks I got on it in the last month.
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:00 AM   #279
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Here are those 3 bucks. First one I cut the date/time off because I had forgotten to reset it on my camera after the batteries died during the Summer. Pic was taken right around October 28 at about 1 a.m. in the morning.

2nd pic you can actually barely see the outline of the forked tree in the background where my stand is.

3rd pic is 15 yards from my ground blind, which is not in view of the camera, it's behind the buck.

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Old 11-21-2014, 10:03 AM   #280
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Well let me tell you a story about that hunt. That old buck and four more shooters were in a tiny sanctuary. I had hundreds of pics of them and all in daylight. just like clockwork, if one of the other deer got in the corn, the old wide deer would be there all hours of the day. SLAM DUNK!

I had a ground blind so we could sneak in to 100yds without being seen. The only reason those bucks were out there was because there was zero hunting pressure so I had to do everything perfect. I waited until the wind was right and we got in perfectly. I was recovering from the flu and 30 minutes into the hunt, I felt the gagging cough coming. I choked it back as much as possible but it wouldn't go away. I pulled my coat over my head when it had to come out but I knew I had messed up. We sat all day and didn't see a deer.

That was two weeks ago and I went from having hundreds of pics a day of those buck to not a single pic since! I mean, those bucks have not even checked that corn pile once since that cough. That just goes to show you how sensitive mature bucks are in their core sanctuary. Those deer had never experienced a hunter there before and wouldn't tolerate one.
Do you think they'll forget about it by next season and the spot will be a good one to hunt again under perfect conditions? What about this season, any chance they'll start using it again before the end of the season in January?
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:28 AM   #281
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Sounds like you've got tons of acreage with very little hunting pressure around. Seems like surrounding pressure has been a key to GG's buck sanctuaries from his descriptions. $.02
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:41 AM   #282
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Im obsessed with a particular deer...again... May end this season with all my tags.


I thought you were unusually quiet. I figured as much. He must be a good one for you to be all-in on him. Good luck.....I'm betting it all comes together eventually.
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:07 AM   #283
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I thought you were unusually quiet. I figured as much. He must be a good one for you to be all-in on him. Good luck.....I'm betting it all comes together eventually.
Hes a ten. I am pretty sure he will net B/C. He would already be dead with a rifle. I hope to sneak an arrow in him though.

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Old 11-21-2014, 11:11 AM   #284
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Cough.....dangit. I screwed up too.
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:12 AM   #285
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The spot Jooger hunted is a spot of oaks in the center of a bad mess.Its hard to get in and out of without the deer knowing it and the type of spot that you just have to hit blind because one scouting trip in there can screw it up severely.
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:23 AM   #286
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JF, Im hesitant to give advice on Midwestern deer. My limited experience with them in Northern Ok, Iowa, and Michigan is that they are really much easier to hunt and much more tolerant of human intrusion. Im sure there are specific deer that follow east tx rules though in heavily hunted areas.

As far as sanctuaries... they are where you find them. Most are really thick stuff with no visibility. Most hunters don't like that so they don't bother it. On the properties I own, I just let an area grow up, plant a food plot and honey suckle, clover, etc and then stay OUT. One trip into the stuff will impact it for weeks when I can walk or drive all around the edges with zero impact.

I spray down head to toe and never touch corn with my hand. If I pour out a bag, I spray it heavy. If I throw it with a can, I spray the can/bucket as I pour it in. I really believe this makes deer associate what scent I leave with food instead of hunting. After all the vanilla hype, it will be interesting to see if deer start to associate it with hunters.
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:38 AM   #287
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Sounds like you've got tons of acreage with very little hunting pressure around. Seems like surrounding pressure has been a key to GG's buck sanctuaries from his descriptions. $.02
There is pressure from bowhunters on surrounding properties so far, but nothing compared to what it will be during those 6 days of gun season starting the Monday after Thanksgiving. Deer will be ducking for cover when the orange army hits the woods. Preferred method of hunting up here during gun season for the majority of people is walking and doing "drives".
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:41 AM   #288
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JF, Im hesitant to give advice on Midwestern deer. My limited experience with them in Northern Ok, Iowa, and Michigan is that they are really much easier to hunt and much more tolerant of human intrusion. Im sure there are specific deer that follow east tx rules though in heavily hunted areas.

As far as sanctuaries... they are where you find them. Most are really thick stuff with no visibility. Most hunters don't like that so they don't bother it. On the properties I own, I just let an area grow up, plant a food plot and honey suckle, clover, etc and then stay OUT. One trip into the stuff will impact it for weeks when I can walk or drive all around the edges with zero impact.

I spray down head to toe and never touch corn with my hand. If I pour out a bag, I spray it heavy. If I throw it with a can, I spray the can/bucket as I pour it in. I really believe this makes deer associate what scent I leave with food instead of hunting. After all the vanilla hype, it will be interesting to see if deer start to associate it with hunters.


If deer have never been exposed or introduced to vanilla, wouldn't it spook them? I have tried this year on Ft Hood but no luck yet. But there is very heavy hunting pressure on Hood.
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Old 11-21-2014, 12:02 PM   #289
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Hes a ten. I am pretty sure he will net B/C. He would already be dead with a rifle. I hope to sneak an arrow in him though.
That will work
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Old 11-21-2014, 12:15 PM   #290
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[/SIZE][/COLOR]

If deer have never been exposed or introduced to vanilla, wouldn't it spook them? I have tried this year on Ft Hood but no luck yet. But there is very heavy hunting pressure on Hood.
I put in places deer have never seen it and it always helps. I never preach vanilla as a magic solution, just an aid when I do everything right. If you depend on vanilla to kill your deer, you are already behind the 8ball.
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Old 11-21-2014, 12:30 PM   #291
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Best thread I've ever read on here. Great stuff!! I already feel like I'm a better hunter.
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Old 11-21-2014, 12:48 PM   #292
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Best thread I've ever read on here. Great stuff!! I already feel like I'm a better hunter.

X2
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Old 11-21-2014, 01:06 PM   #293
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I have a question on something that I have not seen you address or that I may I have missed. I believe the increase in vehicle traffic around one of these sanctuaries during season will cause a buck to leave. If it is near a highway, house, or county road I can see getting away with parking nearby while hunting. A bedding area that is located in the middle of a lease that only has traffic from September through January I believe is a different story. The buck I was after is on a property that has had no vehicles on it since last season. I wanted to keep it that way so I was walking in close to 1 mile each time I hunted. I even had 3 different routes going to the stand for different wind directions. I have tagged out and now my brother is wanting to hunt my blind but is wanting to drive in and park about 300 yds from the blind. He doesn't think it is that big of a deal. What is your opinion? Thanks
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Old 11-21-2014, 02:59 PM   #294
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I have tagged out and now my brother is wanting to hunt my blind but is wanting to drive in and park about 300 yds from the blind. He doesn't think it is that big of a deal. What is your opinion? Thanks
Sounds like my brother. Ha. Wants to kill a big buck but doesn't want to expend the effort. Since you are tagged out, I say let him try as an "experiment." It'll be a learning experience for you both.
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Old 11-21-2014, 03:11 PM   #295
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I have a question on something that I have not seen you address or that I may I have missed. I believe the increase in vehicle traffic around one of these sanctuaries during season will cause a buck to leave. If it is near a highway, house, or county road I can see getting away with parking nearby while hunting. A bedding area that is located in the middle of a lease that only has traffic from September through January I believe is a different story. The buck I was after is on a property that has had no vehicles on it since last season. I wanted to keep it that way so I was walking in close to 1 mile each time I hunted. I even had 3 different routes going to the stand for different wind directions. I have tagged out and now my brother is wanting to hunt my blind but is wanting to drive in and park about 300 yds from the blind. He doesn't think it is that big of a deal. What is your opinion? Thanks
Its a HUGE deal. Deer close to a road are used to traffic and I use that as an advantage. Deer off the road quickly learn traffic means a hunter in the area. 4wheeler the same thing.

One spot I hunted for years was in the DCNF and about 200yds from a large open field that was heavily hunted. There was a camp house on the property maybe 1/4 mile from me and box stands. Many times, I would be in my stand with a mature buck on the corn when that guy would start his 4 wheeler. The deer would immediately spook from my corn and stay gone until he killed it. He rode to his stand every day. In the mornings, the same thing when he got off his stand and rode back to camp. as soon as he killed the 4wheeler, I would see the deer start trickling back to my corn and feed watching toward his camp.
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Old 11-21-2014, 03:14 PM   #296
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Well let me tell you a story about that hunt. That old buck and four more shooters were in a tiny sanctuary. I had hundreds of pics of them and all in daylight. just like clockwork, if one of the other deer got in the corn, the old wide deer would be there all hours of the day. SLAM DUNK!

I had a ground blind so we could sneak in to 100yds without being seen. The only reason those bucks were out there was because there was zero hunting pressure so I had to do everything perfect. I waited until the wind was right and we got in perfectly. I was recovering from the flu and 30 minutes into the hunt, I felt the gagging cough coming. I choked it back as much as possible but it wouldn't go away. I pulled my coat over my head when it had to come out but I knew I had messed up. We sat all day and didn't see a deer.

That was two weeks ago and I went from having hundreds of pics a day of those buck to not a single pic since! I mean, those bucks have not even checked that corn pile once since that cough. That just goes to show you how sensitive mature bucks are in their core sanctuary. Those deer had never experienced a hunter there before and wouldn't tolerate one.
Well, where did they go? They should have another sanctuary close by...right? I love this thread...anybody that has killed as many big SETx deer as you, we might ought to listen.

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Old 11-21-2014, 03:23 PM   #297
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Thanks GG for sharing all this information. My hunting has changed a lot in the last few years as it has become much more centered around putting my 12 year old (and sometimes my 8 year old) on deer. We got on a new place last season. It works out best for us right now to hunt out of a box blind which overlooks feeders in two different directions. Does are easy, but to really connect with a big buck we are simply going to have to get lucky--probably during the rut.

This is the one I really want him to get. I posted this the other day, but he came to a feeder three times in the morning and evening last season--over a three day span. We weren't there.








All that said, your thread has gotten me excited about really "hunting" once more--something I haven't done in a few years. I think I'll do some offseason work and do some hunting on my own next season. There are some exceptional bucks on our place and the guy a 1/4 mile away has killed two NT B&C bucks (~200") in the last five years. I have a couple of questions if you don't mind.


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The biggest part of this comes in finding them after deer season when they've been pressured the most. Go in and find their beds, with any luck you'll jump him and see him. Commit that spot to memory and you have 9 months to decide how to tweet it to where you can hunt it.
(1) So I assume you can enter the thickest parts of the sanctuary right after the season? Up until, say February? I assume you do any cutting, planting, etc. very early and then limit your access to just checking cams, feeding until you are ready to hunt? And then you don't go into the thickest parts until after the season?

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I spray down head to toe and never touch corn with my hand. If I pour out a bag, I spray it heavy. If I throw it with a can, I spray the can/bucket as I pour it in. I really believe this makes deer associate what scent I leave with food instead of hunting. After all the vanilla hype, it will be interesting to see if deer start to associate it with hunters.
(2) I want to know more about this vanilla spray. I would assume it is vanilla extract added to water or scent spray in a spray bottle? When you say you spray down head to toe, are you saying you spray yourself with vanilla? If so, I assume you don't do this when hunting, just when feeding.
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Old 11-21-2014, 03:34 PM   #298
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[QUOTE=redfish76;941



(2) I want to know more about this vanilla spray. I would assume it is vanilla extract added to water or scent spray in a spray bottle? When you say you spray down head to toe, are you saying you spray yourself with vanilla? If so, I assume you don't do this when hunting, just when feeding.[/QUOTE]

No Sir. I like real vanilla but cheap Great Value at Walmart works too. I mix it about 1 part V to 4 water on real and maybe 1 to 2 or 3 on imitation. I spray down when corning and hunting. Everything I own smells like a cupcake from sept to January. I spray my hat, boots, butt, hair, underarms, bushes I touch, and the ground around my corn. It will not spook deer and will actually attract them to some degree. They like vanilla corn better and after trying it , they will leave the other until the V is all gone!
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Old 11-21-2014, 03:43 PM   #299
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I have a question on something that I have not seen you address or that I may I have missed. I believe the increase in vehicle traffic around one of these sanctuaries during season will cause a buck to leave. If it is near a highway, house, or county road I can see getting away with parking nearby while hunting. A bedding area that is located in the middle of a lease that only has traffic from September through January I believe is a different story. The buck I was after is on a property that has had no vehicles on it since last season. I wanted to keep it that way so I was walking in close to 1 mile each time I hunted. I even had 3 different routes going to the stand for different wind directions. I have tagged out and now my brother is wanting to hunt my blind but is wanting to drive in and park about 300 yds from the blind. He doesn't think it is that big of a deal. What is your opinion? Thanks

I completely agree with this. I started hunting a piece of property about 6 years ago that had a big oil rig at the very end of the road than ran through it. EVERY afternoon a guy would ride through on his truck and check the rig. We also had 18 wheelers come in from time to time to load up.

The first year I put up stands way away from this gravel road because in my line of thinking no deer in there right mind would be anywhere near this road. Wrong. I put a stand up on a hillside and out one window I could see a pretty good stretch of the road about 600 yards away. One afternoon while hunting, the guy came in around 3:30 (like he always does) in his truck to check the rig. He spent about 10 minutes checking the rig and then drove back out. Not even 3 minutes later I see movement on the stretch of road he just drove over. Out walks a big solid 10 pt, probably around 150+. It was 600 yards away and I was able to glass him with my binos for about 20 seconds as he crossed the road and into some thick stuff. After him, deer just started piling out onto that stretch of road!

The very next day I tore down my pop up and found a great place to put it overlooking this stretch of road. I wasn't able to hunt it for another two weeks and when I did I brought my son Colton with me. The rig hand drove by at 3:30 and me and Colton waved to him on his way out. 5 minutes later here came the deer and lots of em! It was like a deer highway! They knew exactly when that rig hand came in to check things over and knew it was safe to come out when he left. Right before dark here comes that big ol 10 pt walking up the road. Colton was shaking something bad and I tried my darndest to settle him down. He got the cross hairs on em, squeezed one off and he ran off into the mesquites! I couldn't tell if he hit him or not but we looked for 2 hours in the dark and couldn't find hide nor hair of that rascal! Never did see that son of a gun again. That is the only deer Colton has missed to this day.

Anyways, yes, if the deer have a lot of noise around them, don't let that discourage you. They are very use to it and adjust. We killed a BUNCH of critters on that road bed and sure do miss it.


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Old 11-21-2014, 03:53 PM   #300
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GaryGuy if you're scouting a new sanctuary or other general area (like in the DCNF) when do you do that so as it minimize the impact on the deer? I'm talking about the time of year and time of day. Jooger said it's good if you actually bust a buck ouf of his bed but obviously you don't want to do something like that in September...
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